City shuttler Malvika stuns Saina
   Date :14-Jan-2022

City shuttler Malvika  nbm
 
 
Sports Reporter :
 
Nagpur girl becomes just the second Indian player to beat Nehwal in an international event, enters India Open quarters
 
 
THOUGH she has a couple of senior international crowns in her kitty, city’s immensely talented shuttler Malvika Bansod recorded perhaps her biggest career victory stunning Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal to reach quarter-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022, which is part of the HSBC BWF World Tour tournament series, at the KD Jadhav Stadium, on Thursday. Malvika defeated Saina 21-17, 21-9 in straight games with the match lasting just 34 minutes. Even though Saina hadn’t been at her physical best and is still recovering from a serious knee-injury, it was not easy for Malvika as the experienced former champ was fighting for every point. Malvika started by playing more drops to counter Saina’s down the line smashes and that allowed her to open up an 11-6 lead in the opening game. But Saina closed the gap at 16-18 before two consecutive unforced errors on smashes allowed Malvika to take the opening game.
 
The 20-year-old World No 111 kept on moving her senior compatriot to all four corners and tested her overall fitness in the second game. Many a time, Saina was slow to react to Malvika’s flat tosses and was never in the fight. Meanwhile, Malvika became only the second Indian to beat former World No 1 Saina since 2017 in any international tournament. Saina’s only loss against an Indian opponent at the India Open was in the quarter-final against PV Sindhu in 2017. On the domestic circuit, Aparna Popat was the only Indian to beat her in Bangalore Nationals in 2006, fifteen years ago. Malvika, playing in her maiden appearance in India Open, will face Aakarshi Kashyap in the Round of 8 in what will be a repeat of last month’s All India Senior Ranking Tournament final in Hyderabad where the city girl triumphed. 
 
Proud moment for State: Dr Raut
 
MAHARASHTRA Energy Minister and Nagpur’s Guardian Minister Nitin Raut lauded the exciting win of Malvika Bansod over Olympian Saina Nehwal on Thursday. “It’s proud moment for the people of Maharashtra & specially Nagpur that rising Badminton star #MalvikaBansod defeats champion Saina Nehwal in #IndiaOpen2022. While congratulating Malvika,we expect victories & medals at international level for her,” Dr Raut tweeted.